Putting the Study in Study Abroad


We have started our first full week here in Verona and it’s off to a busy start!

It was my first day of classes on Monday; so, I had to get my cliché first day of school picture (just for you mom 😉 ) – although I have to say this picture is a little different from my other first day of school photos!

I woke up for my International Sports Business class at 9am. I am so excited for this class because the professor also works for Chievo, the professional football (soccer) club here in Verona! Later in the semester, we will get to tour the stadium and possibly meet some of the players (if you guys know me, you know that I am already counting down the days until that field trip!!).

After that class, I had a 3-hour break so my roommate, Maggie, and I decided to walk back to our apartment to eat lunch. Our apartment is only a 10-minute walk from the school so it’s very convenient. I should also mention that I walk through a castle on my way to school!! How crazy is that! (You can see the castle in the picture above, and a picture on the bridge below).

At 1:45pm, we walked back to the school because it was time for our Italian language class. I have been looking forward to this class ever since I arrived to Italy because, as you can imagine, going to a country where you don’t know the language can cause a little bit of a struggle at times. Now I thought this class may resemble something along the lines of the Spanish classes that I took in high school-boy was I completely wrong! They separated all of us into three groups (this was so we had smaller class sizes since there are about 35 students in our program). When class began, we learned that our professors were not allowed to speak to us in English. I REPEAT, THEY ONLY SPEAK ITALIAN TO US! Now in the long run, I know this will be helpful; but, after that first day of class, we all left with our heads spinning. There were many times when my professor said something and I could hear crickets as we all stared at him with confusion. He would laugh and make more gestures and point so that we could work out how to understand him.

Tuesday was a relaxed day for me since I only had my Italian class at 2pm. I got to sleep in, which was wonderful, I did a work out in the apartment and then went to class. My Italian class was definitely less overwhelming on day two because I began to understand a little more of what he was saying (or at least I really understood his gestures). I would say that I could possibly have a very basic introductory conversation with someone in Italian and be able to struggle my way through it -baby steps, right?

On Wednesday, I had my first lesson of business communication. Our professor majored in storytelling so when class began, he was ready to talk. We had some in-depth introductions about where we were from and what we are interested in. He always had a story following someone’s introduction but after majoring in storytelling, I could listen to him talk for hours. After introductions, we did an exercise where he separated us into small groups and gave each group six different words (generated from the computer). Each group had to create a story using the six words he gave us and then read/act out the story in front of the class. Now, creating a story off the words, aversion, faith, pound, pig, decapitation, crutch and was a tad interesting but turned out to be a lot of fun (for those who are curious our story was called The Farmer and The Pig and you can use your imagination for the rest). After business communication, I had Italian again. Wednesday is our “speaking day” for Italian; so, we had to do different exercises that included a short conversation and a video exercise that helped us apply what we have learned so far.

Thursday, my final day of classes for the week, was very easy since it only consisted of my Italian class. After class, I met with one of our program directors to coordinate starting an internship. I have the opportunity to possibly help out with Chievo, the professional football team in Verona, which I could not be more excited about. I still have to meet with my program director and sports business professor to set it up, but I will keep you posted!

Sydney Tatum is a University of Iowa student. To read more about her time studying abroad in Verona, Italy visit her blog, With Love, Sydney.